by Veronica Amezola
As the holiday of Thanksgiving is approaching, it is important to recognize its origins and be respectful of Native American people. The Thanksgiving stories that we grew up learning are stretches from the truth and work to promote Native American stereotypes and a false narrative. If you do celebrate Thanksgiving, perhaps replace honoring the holiday for what you were taught it was about in grade school and instead use the day to practice gratitude with your loved ones and stand in solidarity with Native Americans.
To start, learn the real history of Thanksgiving. I suggest you do your own research, but here are a couple of links to some articles that truthfully describe the origins of Thanksgiving.
After you have done your research, share the information that you’ve learned with your friends, family, and even followers on social media. You can help set the story straight to younger siblings or children that you’re with since they are usually taught fiction and myths about Thanksgiving instead of the truth at a young age.
- Learn more about what tribes are indigenous to your area. You can find out who’s native land you’re on with interactive maps like: https://native-land.ca/. You can learn more information about the tribe(s) including their history, languages, traditions, how they are doing today, and if you can help them in any type of way. Take the native tribes of your area into consideration and respectfully give thanks/show your appreciation to them.
- Practice gratitude and reflect on the positive things in your life this year. Celebrate community with a Friendsgiving if you cannot be with your family.
- If you want, simply don’t partake in celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday.
- Spread knowledge and awareness on the Native American tribes and the issues that they are faced with today.
- Decolonize your Thanksgiving Dinner:
You don’t have to prepare the typical turkey and mashed potatoes dinner in order for your experience to be valid. Prepare a dinner that is more health-conscious or honors your heritage. Do some research on indigenous foods and try those out if you’d like. Corn, beans, and squash (The Three Sisters) have been the staples for many indigenous diets.
- Support Indigenous Businesses:
Search up the Native American tribes near your area and see if they have any businesses that you can support and buy from! Buy art, clothing, accessories, and more for birthdays, Christmas, or any other occasion.
A List of Native-owned businesses: http://www.beyondbuckskin.com/p/buy-native.html
You can also donate your money to businesses, organizations, and communities!